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LITERARY    LIFE                      235

The picture technique here is perfect: the hilltops appearing
as several "dots" over the wall give one a stereoscopic sense of
distance from the hills. In this sense, we can understand Li
Liweng (seventeenth century), when he says in one of his
dramatic works:

First we look at the hills in the painting,
Then we look at the painting in the hills.

The poet's eye is the painter's eye, and painting and poetry
become one.

This affinity between painting and poetry is all the more
natural and apparent when we consider not only their simi-
larity of technique, but also their similarity of themes, and the
fact that the title of a painting is often actually a line taken
from some verse. In any case, the painter after finishing his
painting usually writes a verse at the top in those vacant
spaces characteristic of Chinese paintings. Of this, more later
on when we discuss painting proper. But this affinity is
responsible for another point in Chinese poetry, viz., the
impressionistic technique. It is a technique which gives a
series of impressions, vivid and unforgettable, and leaves
merely a flavour, an indefinable feeling behind, which awakes
the reader's senses but does not satisfy his understanding.
Chinese poetry is consummate in the art of sublimation,
suggestion and artistic restraint. The poet does not try to say
all he has to say. His business is but to evoke a picture, making
a pen sketch by a few swift, clear strokes.

Hence arose the great school of pastoral poets, specializing
in landscape paintings and using the impressionistic technique.
Such masters in pastoral poetry are T'ao Yflq.nrmng (373-437)>
Hsieh Lingyun (385-433?), Wang Wei (699-759) and Wei
Ingwu (740-*:. 830), but the technique is practically universal
with Chinese poets. Of Wang Wei (perhaps better known as
Wang Mochieh) it is said that "there is poetry in his painting
and painting in his poetry," because Wang was a great painter
himself. His WangcKuanchi is nothing but a collection of
pastoral landscapes. A poem like the following can only be
written by one inspired by the spirit of Chinese painting: